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Swift to Chase

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  742 ratings  ·  99 reviews
Laird Barron’s fourth collection gathers a dozen stories set against the backdrops of the Alaskan wilderness, far-future dystopias, and giallo-fueled nightmare vistas.

All hell breaks loose in a massive apartment complex when a modern day Jack the Ripper strikes under cover of a blizzard; a woman, famous for surviving a massacre, hits the road to flee the limelight and find
Paperback, 296 pages
Published October 7th 2016 by JournalStone
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Average rating 4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  742 ratings  ·  99 reviews

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☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Some seriously stunning stuff that deteriorated into some mediocre half-coherent horror by the end of it. Was it worth spoiling a good flowing narrative with that freak show?

Me? Let’s say I prefer to rely upon a combination of native cunning and feminine wiles to accomplish my goals. Flames and explosions are strictly measures of last resort. (c)
I’ll put my life in mortal danger for a pile of cash. No shock there, anybody would. (c)
It’s as if the stars and the sky don’t align correctly,
Dan Schwent
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Swift to Chase is a collection of interconnected Laird Barron tales, most set in Alaska.

That's really underselling the collection. In Swift to Chase, Laird Barron performs a juggling act, pitting the bleakness of life in Alaska with the mangled nature of time and cosmic horror that lurks just around the corner. The interconnected nature of the tales and the fact that they aren't presented in chronological order drives home Barron's concept of time that is as twisted and deformed as a wrecked car
Benoit Lelièvre
Aug 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was absolutely brilliant. It's the third Laird Barron book I read inside the last twelve months and while I loved them all, this is by far the best. It probably is the only example I've ever experienced where short stories actually do something a single novel could never do: create a mythos from top to bottom. There are some major moments in this collection: Termination Dust, Ardor, Black Dog, Tomahawk Park Survivor Raffle, but it's how Laird Barron connects the dots and creates a terr ...more
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's not often that my first reaction to finishing a book is to sit and stare out a window in disbelief, but that was all my mind could summon my body to do after turning the last page in Laird Barron's new collection Swift to Chase.

It is that good.

I've been a fan of Barron's for a number of years now, and every time I think I've got a handle on the sheer breadth and scope of his fiction he releases a new short story, collection, or novella that blows my mental battleship straight out of the w
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I wrote an intro to the collection. Suffice to say, it's Laird's best book to date. ...more
Nov 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stuff, horror
In one of the most ambitious books I've read all year, author Laird Barron presents us with a collection of stories that not only play with the mixing of pulp genres like hard-boiled noir, slasher thriller, and cosmic horror, but also build a whole horror mythology as they move along, compiling to become a mosaic novel in which everything is connected. All of the stories revolve around various people that live in a small, cursed Alaskan town, and the horrors that befall them.
"There's a
With this collection of interconnected short stories, I feel like Laird Barron pushed the envelope of his weird, cosmic horror even further. The way he had played with non-linear narrative in "The Croning" ( is kicked up a notch with "Swift to Chase".

Mostly set in his native Alaska, these stories are loosely centered around Jessica Mace, a rather enigmatic dame who flees the isolation of Anchorage, the complications of a fractured family... and the notori
Jack Haringa
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: collections, horror
Laird Barron's Swift to Chase is marketed as the author's fourth short story collection (after the groundbreaking The Imago Sequence and Other Stories, Occultation and Other Stories, and The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All: Stories), but I believe that in reality it's a stealth novel. To be sure, each story in the volume can stand on its own, yet the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Barron seems to be going about the work of constructing a new mythology, or a new branch of the Old ...more
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Barron's masterpiece to date. ...more
Christopher Payne
Jul 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: journalstone
Introduction by Paul Tremblay

Publishers Weekly top ten list for most anticipated horror/Scifi Fall 2016 releases.

Laird Barron’s fourth collection gathers a dozen stories set against the backdrops of the Alaskan wilderness, far-future dystopias, and giallo-fueled nightmare vistas.

All hell breaks loose in a massive apartment complex when a modern day Jack the Ripper strikes under cover of a blizzard; a woman, famous for surviving a massacre, hits the road to flee the limelight and finds her misadv
Mark Tallen
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is yet another excellent collection of fiction from Laird. My personal favourites in this book are, Termination Dust, Ears Prick Up and Frontier Death Song. In May of this year (2018) Laird will have his first crime novel published by Putnam. I for one, am looking forward to that.
Scott Rhee
Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories, horror
Laird Barron’s superbly decadent and goosebump-inducing fourth collection of short stories, “Swift to Chase”, could also be subtitled, as Paul Tremblay notes in the introduction, “The Alaska Stories”. I’ll go one step further and suggest another subtitle: “The Jessica Mace Stories”.

In truth, not every story in this collection has something to do with Alaska. In some cases, the connection is negligible to the point of being irrelevant. Same can be said for Jessica Mace. Only a few of the stories
Shane Douglas Douglas
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An excerpt of my review on This Is Horror:

If you’ve been reading horror fiction for any length of time, then you’ve likely heard of and even read Laird Barron. If you haven’t you should probably go see what all the buzz is about. Barron is the author of several brilliant collections and novellas, tales of the strange and cosmic with a heavy pulp noir flavor and literary sensibilities, and he’s pretty much the single author who sets the bar that likeminded
Aksel Dadswell
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you thought you knew what to expect from Laird Barron, his latest (fourth) collection – and sixth major publication – Swift to Chase, tears down all those preconceptions. He breaks a lot of new ground here, especially in terms of technique, structure and style. His Old Leech Mythos – which makes Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos look like the Teletubbies – is present and accounted for, but Barron attacks it from some unexpected angles. He seems to be going out on an experimental limb both with the i ...more
Paul Kohn
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it
There were a few great stories in this book of 12.

Laird Barron has a unique way of writing and describing things. He relies heavily on the imagination of the reader. This is often very good thing, but sometimes it can become a little confusing, particularly in the stories that jump from scene to scene very quickly.

Overall, 3.5 stars.
Seregil of Rhiminee
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Risingshadow.

Laird Barron's Swift to Chase is the author's fourth collection. It is a prime example of what modern horror fiction and literary dark fiction can offer to readers, because it contains beautifully written, disturbing, experimental and memorable stories that boldly break new ground.

I can honestly say that Swift to Chase is one of the most impressive collections I've ever had the pleasure of reading, and I consider it to be Laird Barron's best and most exciting
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another dark and gloomy winner by Laird Barron. This time we are given loosely connected stories that in their entirety could be taken as a novel. There were moments that reminded me of Raymond Carver and Charles Bukowski, maybe even some Gilbert Sorrentino. This is cosmic horror for adults.

My favorites were Andy Kaufman Creeping Through the Trees (What a title!) and Frontier Death Song.
All of the stories are solid.
Heidi Ward
Review on the way . . . wow.
Jonny Illuminati
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I swear his books get better with each new publishing - Swift to Chase continues this nightmarish trend of excellence! So. Fucking. Good.
Paul Roberts
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
What happened to Laird Barron? Has the doppelgänger he's warned us about all these years finally taken over? This is Huffington Post Horror. ...more
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 rounded up.
I have read a fair bit of Barron's work over the past couple years and enjoyed it, especially the way he balanced the eldritch with the visceral, creating eerie tales that were still packed with action. His work often felt like a merging of Ligotti and Morrell, two of my favorite authors.
Sadly, this collection is quite different, tonally, and also lacks the more cosmic themes Barron is best known for. Instead, we have linked stories that touch on classic horror tropes while twinin
Elle Maruska
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whoa. This was....incredibly complex.

And really frickin good.

I love Laird Barron's style. I love his seamless fusion of genres, his quick and hungry prose, his twisty interconnected macroverse. I love his character work, how each of his many, many characters have distinct personalities and motivations. I love how everything ties back into everything else so you feel like you may have to reread a few times to get all the connections figured out. Laird Barron's horror is horror done RIGHT, compli
Oct 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is something about Laird's writing style that just completely terrifies me. Plenty of horror novels have scared me or creeped me out but none the same way that Laird's stuff does. This one kept me up late at night, unable to get the events of the stories and their connections out of my head. Jessica Mace and her cast of interconnected characters seem to be creating one hell of an interesting (and scary) mythology. Swift To Chase was fantastic and like no other story collection I have read. ...more
Kevin Taitz
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What is that sound? Do you hear it?

Laird Barron's small Alaskan town, Eagle Talon, makes Castle Rock look like Disneyland. This "collection" of short stories is more of a full length David Lynch feature.

Terrifying and heart wrenching, complex and frigid, it's an epic story told in a non-linear series of cosmic horror vignettes.

I'm going to read it again as soon as I gather the strength.
Jon Hilty
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
I probably should have had a notebook to keep track of timelines and characters and relationships for this collection. That would have made sense. But I didn't. Too engrossed in reading it instead. All of the stories collected here are interconnected at one or more levels. Jessica Mace and the rest of the Alaska crew (multiple generations of them) pull most of the focus, with a foray into a probably far future empire. Weirdness goes to eleven in some of the stories, others are more subdued but n ...more
Oct 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, short-stories
Barron's style is changing and, I have to admit, it's leaving me behind a little. I'm just not appreciating his work as much lately as I used to and it feels to me like he's taking his writing in a different direction.

Still, there was quite a bit to appreciate here, in this collection of largely (but not all) interconnected stories. Stories such as 'Ardor', 'Frontier Death Song' and 'Andy Kaufman Creeping through the Trees' are probably among my favourites here although all of them are well wort
Kevan Dale
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've given everything I've read by Barron 5 stars, so I feel a little bad only giving this collection 4 stars.

The writing is sharp and engaging. In fact, the stories here have more of a modern feel than his earlier work in terms of their prose, pacing, and voice. The originality of the stories is impressive: he's created his own dark Alaska riven with cosmic terrors.

Where I felt it miss in places was in the confusion of some of the stories. Maybe it was me, but I found them hard to follow - who
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
The strangest of Barron's collections yet. A type of half-ironic Howardesque pulp merges with true surrealism and Lynchian style to create some kind of Twin Peaks-meets-Takashi Miike monster hybrid. Each story is related to the others to varying and not always immediately obvious degrees, and the setting (as much of a shared one as can be gleamed) oozes. I have read very experimental linked story horror collections before, but this is the best of those so far. ...more
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, horror
Hallucinatory daemon attack, scifi attack monster, sleazy teen, time jumping tale. Entertaining and visceral. Would have preferred a bit more linearity though jumping from character to character plays to Laird's strength of writing short episodic horror. Delving back in to Occultation after this one. Like that author is willing to experiment though did not grab quite as strongly as The Imago Sequence. ...more
Zeke Gonzalez
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a collection! The stories of Swift to Chase can be pretty neatly categorized into two groups, the tales connected to Eagle Talon & those that are not (at least not obviously). The stories in the first category slowly build the supernatural and occult mythos around the Alaskan town of Eagle Talon over the course of the collection, diving into the perspectives of multiple characters and viewing several keystone events in different ways. It’s very cool to see the mythos surrounding the cursed ...more
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Laird Barron, an expat Alaskan, is the author of several books, including The Imago Sequence and Other Stories; Swift to Chase; and Blood Standard. Currently, Barron lives in the Rondout Valley of New York State and is at work on tales about the evil that men do.

Photo credit belongs to Ardi Alspach

Agent: Janet Reid of New Leaf Literary & Media

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